Episode 23

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Published on:

7th Nov 2023

Chess Moves for a Healthy Heart: Thinking Ahead and Finding Balance in Life -23

In this episode of The Heart Chamber Podcast, host Boots Knighton sits down with the insightful Julian Hayes for an engaging conversation that will encourage you to explore the power of the mind in healing. Join Boots and Julian as they explore the importance of mindset, visualization, and positive thinking in healing. They also discuss the impact of impulsive behavior on overall health and the importance of optimizing one's well-being, rather than simply maintaining it. Julian's personal experiences and unique perspective will leave you inspired to create your own path and challenge the status quo in pursuit of a fulfilling life. Tune in to this episode of The Heart Chamber Podcast, where unconventional wisdom meets the beating heart of medicine.

If you are looking for something specific - here's where you'll find it:

[05:32] Having a clear goal improves precision and effectiveness.

[08:20] Ignoring reality, embracing inner strength.

[10:09] Focus on the good, ignore fear and anxiety.

[13:38] Team members have different roles but all are important.

[15:57] Sleep affects weight; eat healthy, rest well.

[16:56] Impulsive, anxious behavior strains the heart indirectly.

[22:16] Align screen with sun, get sunlight, sleep consistently.

[25:43] Foundational tools make a huge difference.

[26:35] Stay sane. Help sleep. Enjoy life. Maximize.

[29:46] Achieve balance, take control of your health.

[35:30] Prioritize your microflora, follow anti-inflammatory diet. Love your body post-heart surgery/procedure.

[38.17] Long-term thinking beats negativity and stress.

[40:06] Heart surgery transformed my life. Be amazed.

A Little More About Today's Guest

Julian Hayes II is an author, hybrid athlete, and the founder of Executive Health. His boutique concierge helps forward-thinking CEOs, executives, and other high-achieving individuals live longer, live better, and live stronger by leveraging their unique biodata, data-driven analytics, and personalized programming.

He's also the host of Executive Health & Life. Lastly, he's had 300+ articles published in Inc., Entrepreneur, SUCCESS, Chief Executive, & many more.

How to connect with Julian

Website: executivehealth.io

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/julianhayesii

How to connect with Boots

The Heart Chamber - A podcast for heart patients (theheartchamberpodcast.com)

Email: Boots@theheartchamberpodcast.com

Instagram: @theheartchamberpodcast or @boots.knighton

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/boots-knighton

If you enjoyed this episode, take a minute and share it with someone you know who will find value in it as well. You can share directly from this platform or send them to:

The Heart Chamber - A podcast for heart patients (theheartchamberpodcast.com)

Transcript

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Boots Knighton [:

Hello, and welcome to another incredible episode of The Heart Chamber. I am your host, Boots Knighton. On episode 23 today, I interview the thought-provoking and inspiring, Julian Hayes. Julian and I have such a rich conversation about health and playing the long game. We talk about discovering the importance of mindset, visualization, and positive thinking in the healing process. And Julian also shares his insight on so many things regarding genetics and epigenetics. It is such an important conversation that you just won't hear in your typical doctor's office, and it's a conversation I wish I had had prior to my open-heart surgery. So, I'm so excited you're with us today. Thanks again for choosing The Heart Chamber to be a part of your day. Let's get right to it.

Boots Knighton [:

Welcome to The Heart Chamber. Hope, inspiration, and healing. Conversations on open heart surgery. I am your host, Boots Knighton. If you are a heart patient, a caregiver, a health care provider, a healer, or are just looking for open-hearted living, this podcast is for you. To make sure you are in rhythm with The Heart Chamber, be sure to subscribe or follow wherever you are listening to this episode. While you're listening today, think of someone who may appreciate this information. The number one way people learn about a podcast is through a friend. Don't you want to be the reason someone you know gained this heartfelt information? And if you haven't already, follow me on Instagram. Two different places, at boots.knighton or at The Heart Chamber podcast. You can also find me on LinkedIn as well as Facebook. But enough with the directions. Without further delay, let's get to this week's episode.

Boots Knighton [:

So, Julian, thanks for being here today. I am so glad we have met. I have had the opportunity to visit with you several times now, and I feel like I've made a friend. I asked you to come on today as a resource for my heart warrior audience because we heart patients get bombarded by so much from Western medicine that can sometimes be stifled by whether insurance will cover it or not.

Boots Knighton [:

And it tends to be limited and I found that for my own healing, if I had stayed with just the cardiology route that only insurance would cover, I don't think I'd be where I am today. I really had to go outside the box. And you are an outside the box thinker. And I just wanted to bring you on to help shed light on other things we need to be thinking about as heart patients. So, thank you for saying yes.

Julian Hayes [:

Thank you for inviting me on. I'm glad we make this happen. You know, things come up at different times, different scheduling conflicts, but I think the universe has it worked out that it happens when it's supposed to happen.

Boots Knighton [:

Yes. So, let's talk about executive health. And this is what drew me to you because I am a big believer that we are the CEO of our health, each of us. And so, let's just start there. You have the phrase, run your body like a business. Help us unpack that. And for the heart patient, how do you advise us to run our bodies like a business?

Julian Hayes [:

Yeah. Well, I had a lot of experience in this arena cause my father and different people down my line had different heart issues. And it's actually one of the reasons that got me into Genetics and epigenetics and learning about those things because I did see on our side of the line that it seemed like we had a lot of people with the cardiovascular lane that had issues, whereas neurological brain stuff, we didn't really have that on my side of the family. And then I looked at another family, and they did have it. So, that's actually kind of the impetus of all this. But if you think about a company, and I like to start here, is that the first thing a company is going to do is they're going to have, well, at least they're a good company. At least I think so. They're going to have a mission and a vision for what are they doing, why do they want to do it, why is this important.

Julian Hayes [:

You're creating stakes in this situation here. So, when I'm thinking about a heart patient here and they're looking to rebuild themselves, most likely. Maybe at the current standpoint right now, maybe they see this goal of where they want to be and pretend, you're, like, on a bridge. Except the only thing is you're on one side and you see the destination on the other side, but in between hasn't been built yet. But you're still casting that vision. You're still casting that mission for where you want to go.

Julian Hayes [:

And the reason why then is your day-to-day actions are going to be much more precise, and effective and efficient because you know exactly what you're doing. You know exactly your end game and where you're going. Whereas when you don't have any sort of thing that you're aiming for and you're just freestyling it, you're essentially shooting in the dark, and you're hoping and guessing. And that's not really a good thing. And to take that into the establishment, most of the time, you will have to have cardiologists and those people working with you. And those people are good, but the world we live in now, I don't think it's enough to just rely on one person because science is moving so fast. There are new discoveries, new research, new novel compounds that are out almost every day, it seems, I can't even keep up with it. And so, I have friends and peers that I know specialist in certain things. And then I can just see the high-level overview of it.

Julian Hayes [:

So, it's the same thing when it comes to our very own lives here is to use that help, of course, because that's the baseline. That's our fundamentals right there, just like a company has its fundamentals. But then to build upon that, that’s when we had to go and do our own independent research and then add with that the existing base.

Boots Knighton [:

That's really interesting because I had 6 months that I had to wait for my heart surgery. It was during COVID. And the first surgery got canceled at Stanford because the ICU beds filled up and then I had to find a new place to get my surgery. It was bananas. And for new listeners, you can listen to that episode back on season 1 episode 1. My point in bringing that up is I had plenty of time to think about my mission and vision. And I did a lot of that work with my therapist. Like, I think that could be in several iterations because the first step was just surviving the surgery.

Boots Knighton [:

So, I had a vision. I had 2 different visions. I had well, actually, no, 3. Waking up from the surgery, so surviving because they had to stop my heart. And then leaving the hospital was another one. And then the third one was thriving, like absolutely kicking ass at life. I thought it would be a year, ended up being a little bit longer than that, but that's so good. And not shooting into the dark, that also really resonates. But here's the thing, it's like when you're facing a heart surgery, there's so much unknown. And the heart is such a complicated organ and there's so much that has to happen that it's a very dark, vast universe. Can you talk to that a little bit more? Like, how can we make the dark not feel so dark?

Julian Hayes [:

You know, my dad had these and my grandfather. And so, one of the first things and this may be a little esoteric and maybe a little woo-wooly to some people, but one of the first things we had to do, as best our ability was ignoring our reality, ignore this now, because everything we see right now and everything that has come up to this point right now is really just a collection of things from the past and our daily habits and actions that have led to this day. And we had to ignore reality. And one of the hardest parts about ignoring reality is your surrounding environment. And I know with him, everyone around him, and even some other relatives, they would see you as a sick person. So, they would think that maybe you're fragile now or you're just not as fully capable. And I had to remind him that, look. You're still the man in the house.

Julian Hayes [:

You are the patriarch of the family, if I'm talking to my grandfather. And this is a situation. It's not an ideal situation. I mean, we're not going to be delusional, but it's a situation. And are there people who have overcome this and gotten back to life? Yes. And then we can go find proof if you need that. And so, we can go find reasons to support that because what we think about, we get more of. And I know it's a very cliche to apply it to, but it's very true.

Julian Hayes [:

I do believe there is some type of energetic pool that we have, that we can bring. If all you talk about is sickness and you see yourself in that light and you keep bringing yourself down, then you're going to reaffirm that because your thoughts give way to your feelings, which then give way to your actions and your habits, and that's going to ultimately create your reality. So, the first thing we had to do was really essentially create a fortress around him with that. And it was hard to explain visualizing, so that's not it.

Julian Hayes [:

So, I just simply said, hey. I want you to think about all the good. I want you to think about everything that you're going to do when this is over and you're healed. I want you to think about that kind of thing and just go from there. If somebody starts to, I don't want to say baby you, but just starts to, oh, let me do this. Let me do that. I know you're sick and all that. Just thank them, but then also let them know that this is just a temporary situation, and I'm going to get better with that. And I think that's the very first thing you could do before you even think about nutrition, talking to anyone, I think it's just to really get your mind right because this is a mental game. And people, sometimes, they think they're caring for you, but what they're really doing is they're putting their fears on you, their anxiety on you, and that doesn't help the situation. And even with just throughout the pandemic and, other situations, we can see that when someone's anxious, their system's going to be off a little bit. It's going to throw their system off if they just have this heightened level of anxiety and fear, and that's going to deplete your immune system. And that's not what we want. Now that person doesn't know that. That's seeing, like, 5 moves ahead, but all these things are connected. And so, and that was a little long of an answer with that, but it is so important because I see this with the way health is going now. There are so many great technologies, so many things in terms of regenerating the body that is here and that is on the line. But all of this is going to be for not if we do not take care of our mindset first.

Boots Knighton [:

Yes. And that was the first thing that my therapist and I had to do when my reality abruptly changed literally overnight, and then we could start building on there. I would say our mindset is the foundation for which everything else is built upon when surviving and thriving after open heart surgery.

Julian Hayes [:

And just to add one more thing, if you think about it now, so what you just did there, right, you established your mission and your vision, like we said the business does. The next thing the business is going to do is now that we have these things in place, now we're going to delegate these things out to different entities, to different operations, to different people. And it sounds like what you did is you delegated and you brought aboard the therapist as part of your core team.

Boots Knighton [:

Exactly. Yeah. She's still part of my core team.

Julian Hayes [:

And that's the same thing that we always can do. I'm a bit of a lone ranger, and I guess that's kind of growing up in academia, it's very individualistic. And being an only child, I had to learn that you don't have to do it all yourself. There are people out there willing and able to help you. There are people better than you at so many things. And I guess it's you could call it being vulnerable or something, asking for help and not and being a little afraid of being judged for asking for help. But most people are not going to judge you. And so, that's once again goes back to the mindset thing. But you'll see that you can move so much faster. I guarantee you; your process took a little longer than you wanted. I remember because you said it was a little over a year. But think about if you would just be doing this all on your own.

Boots Knighton [:

It wouldn't have worked out.

Julian Hayes [:

Exactly. Yeah.

Boots Knighton [:

Well, think about it. And I also delegated to a heart surgeon. Right? Because I wasn't going to operate on myself. I mean, he's part of the team. And like you said, running your body like a business. Most businesses have team members. So, the surgeon, your surgeon, the nurses, the CNAs, like, everybody is on a team with you getting you to that mission, that vision that you set for yourself.

Julian Hayes [:

And each team member is not going to have the same amount of time that's allocated to you, but it doesn't lessen their importance. And each team member sometimes, there's going to be seasons in life, seasons in time where they're going to play a more pivotal role in your life, and then the other person is not going to be there, but then you're going to reverse it in this other season. So, probably during your season of the surgery and then probably post op, they were a big portion. You were doing a lot of meetings with them. But then probably months out later, maybe once a month, I think, or quarter or something like that. And then over time, then maybe it goes to a yearly. But then since they're more on a yearly thing and their mission for what they wanted for you is kind of solidified, now it's time to bring in other team members to help and have a bigger part in your operation.

Boots Knighton [:

Love it. And for me, it was interesting. I'm on my third acupuncturist. And I interview her in season 1, Erin Borbet. That's just one example of, like you said, there are seasons for team members. And the first 2 acupuncturists were amazing, and then this third one needed to be in my life for other reasons to continue to help me manage just still some anxiety and things that I'm still dealing with from the experience. But it's okay when you originally pick your team members at the get go, it's okay to move on from them is my point. It's okay to let them go and allow new fresh perspective to come in.

Julian Hayes [:

Some people are in our lives for, I think I've heard this somewhere else. Some people are in our lives for a season. Some people are in there for a lifetime, but they're all for a reason. I think that's it. Or I just made that up. I don't know. Is that it?

Boots Knighton [:

Great paraphrasing. Great paraphrasing. Yeah. Shifting a little bit from running body like a business, but kind of still the same. You talk a lot about sleep. Let's dive into that because sleep is so important for a gazillion reasons. Like, literally, we could probably come up with 1 gazillion. But for the heart patient prepping for surgery, getting sleep in the hospital afterwards, educate us on sleep.

Julian Hayes [:

Yeah. I think when you're looking at it from that context, you're thinking recovery, and sleep is the time when our body literally recovers and rejuvenates and regenerates itself. And when you deprive yourself just on a practical level, you're taking away precious time for that regeneration, for that rejuvenation. There's a lot of different hormones that kind of replenish and go off at nighttime when you're sleeping. And in particular, our deep sleep, which is very beneficial because that's more of the physical restoration, whereas the REM sleep is the mental restoration. And that's being overly simplified, but it's an easy way to kind of, to delineate and distinguish between those two big stages. And then light sleep is, it's still necessary and good. Your money sleep is the deep and REM sleep. And so those are two areas. And when we think about weight gain, we always think about weight gain from a perspective of physical beauty and appearances and aesthetics.

Julian Hayes [:

But if you think about it, if I have a bunch of extra weight that's not needed on me, I'm making everything in my body work harder, in particular, in my heart. As my heart is not as strong as it needs to be in this very moment, then I'm putting even more pressure on the capacity that it has right now to function. And so, that's another thing that sleep comes into play as well is sleep's going to help to regulate our weight. Now, of course, you got to eat healthy. Of course, you got to do some activity to everything, but sleep is a critical component of it as well. There are different things with blood pressure, and so, every single facet of our lives is going to be intertwined with sleep, even from my decision making, if you think about it. Whereas, okay, if I'm sleep deprived and my prefrontal cortex is not firing as much. So, I'm not making more rational, logical decisions, but I'm making more impulsive decisions because my amygdala is firing more.

Julian Hayes [:

Think about the impulses that you're going to do. Maybe that's food. Maybe that's impulsive, being highly emotional. Maybe that's feeling much more anxious at everything. And then if you're thinking 5, 10 moves ahead with that, that kind of behaviors is going to lead to even more strain on your entire human system in particular, your heart. And so, indirectly, that's going to affect. Now it's not directly, per se. It's not the next move.

Julian Hayes [:

But I like to think I'm not good at chess, but I do admire chess players. Because as a good chess grandmaster, you have to really think 10 to 15 moves ahead. And that's the same thing with our health. That just because I don't directly see that this is affecting me, if I look at these events as a cascade chain, then it is actually eventually going to affect me. Now with that said, one night of sleep deprivation is not going to, I know there's research and stuff out there but we're human. I don't even like to sleep myself, and I wish there was something, a bio hack or something, that could help me not have to sleep so much. I really do.

Julian Hayes [:

Because there's so many things to do, but then you have to sleep, unfortunately. But not to get sidetracked on that. Sleep is very much directly connected with recovery and rejuvenation. That's the best, that's probably the number one way to think about it when it comes to, in particular, the individual with the heart. Now there's so many other benefits as well. But I think if you just want to put it in one sentence, just think about rejuvenation and regeneration.

Boots Knighton [:

Yeah. And it's interesting. I was just reflecting on this the other day. The first 6 weeks after my heart surgery, I had horrendous night sweats. And I would have to change my night clothes like three different times each night. It was interesting. The nurses, the surgeon had nothing for me because I'm always like, why? Like, tell me what are the physiological reasons why I'm going through this.

Boots Knighton [:

And they were like, well, maybe you're detoxing from all the chemicals that were put in your body for heart surgery. And that seemed plausible to me, but I think it was so much more than that. And I want my fellow heart warriors to hear this. Like, if you're facing heart surgery, prepare for that because your body goes through so many fits afterwards trying to right itself again because it's just such a traumatic event for the body. It just is. There's just no way around that.

Julian Hayes [:

No. It is. If you think about it, you had your cavity open.

Boots Knighton [:

Yeah.

Julian Hayes [:

You literally were open. And so, you might have been asleep with anesthetic and everything, but that trauma still stays with you. And there's a good book around now that I'm thinking of trauma, there's a good book. Scars and trauma. I forgot the book. But these different traumas stay with us.

Boots Knighton [:

Well and Your Body Keeps the Score is another book.

Julian Hayes [:

That's what I was thinking of. Your Body Keeps the Score. That's what I was thinking of.

Boots Knighton [:

Bessel van der Kolk?

Julian Hayes [:

Mhmm.

Boots Knighton [:

Yeah. So, my body kept the score and I went into my heart surgery in really good health, thankfully and ironically, but I know that my quality of sleep was so severely impacted. At the time, I was not taking melatonin, but I think that would have been a good thing for me to take. I'm just thinking, what are some actionable things that you could list off for us to do to help us protect our sleep?

Julian Hayes [:

Yeah. So, usually some things that I recommend, of course, the easy ones are usually the caffeine intake. Cutting that off usually by noon or so because caffeine has a pretty long half-life. That's one thing. Your relationship with light. So, at nighttime, a lot of the blue lights and the bright lights and everything makes it harder for melatonin to secrete. And so, you're keeping the cortisol levels a little higher, so that can make it a little difficult to fall asleep as well. So, blue blocking glasses, they've helped me. There's also a free tool that you can use for your computer called f.lux. And so, it's set to your location. So, as the sun goes down, your screen's going to dim as well to follow along with that circadian cycle.

Julian Hayes [:

And then in the morning, if you can get some sunlight just to get yourself on a better alignment, just get some sunlight. Just get outside. Get a little sun for 5 to 10 minutes. I'm not going to say, you know, go for a long workout or anything like that. Just get some sun in your eyes and to kind of, get your body on a schedule. And then to the best of your ability, go to sleep, wake up at the same time. Usually, people who have a certain time that they go to bed Monday through Friday and then that time is heavily distorted on the weekend, they're going to get something essentially like jet lag, but they call it social jet lag.

Julian Hayes [:

Now different vitamins and stuff, and you'll have to research this your own self just to make sure and everything since a lot of your listeners are going to have certain situations that are a little different. So, things like magnesium. Magnesium glycinate will be the form that I would look into if I was going to pick a form for magnesium, mainly because those forms more for restoration, relaxation, and could probably to help you sleep or at least relax a little bit. Not going to promise to sleep. So, that's the form of magnesium I will look for. I generally think magnesium's pretty good for most people. Look for yourself, but it's actually pretty good for the heart and everything. Heart regulation and everything. And so, people that are heavily deficient in that, magnesium is one of the pieces.

Julian Hayes [:

There's a lot of pieces as has to with anything. Another thing is to make your last meal, maybe at least two and a half hours before going to bed, if at all possible. Just because the act of digestion is taking energy away. And so, if you eat and then don't give yourself enough time to digest, and then you go right to bed, you're competing with your sleep. Now you're going to fall asleep, of course, but the whole process is taking time away from restoration and healing to digesting. So, that's why I like to have a little break in between that. And those are probably from a high level, what I would look into in this. You could probably get even a little more detail depending on the person's biochemistry, but I think as far as just general things, those are probably some of the ones I would think of and look into.

Boots Knighton [:

And here's the great thing, most of these are free. And I'm all about how can I give my audience free resources or at least economical ones. And I can tell you, I have put most of these into place with the exception of buying blue blocking glasses. I actually just stopped looking at technology. But I can tell you I have religiously been getting out just before sunrise to see the red light for many months now, and I can't believe the difference in my overall mental well-being. And then I am done eating by 6 PM and I go to bed by 9. And that has just become this ingrained habit that my husband and I are in now, and we feel so much better. It really truly does make a difference.

Boots Knighton [:

And we are on a sleep schedule, and we stay on it through the weekend because, you know, we're 45 and don't party, so it's easy for us to go to bed at 9 o'clock on a weekend. But I can tell you, like, it took a minute for me to get all these habits in place, but now you can't pay me to break them because I know it works, and it's all free.

Julian Hayes [:

There's a lot of good compounds and everything that I love, but, really, the foundational tools that you just mentioned, everything, that's really 90 or probably even a little more percent of the battle right there for most people. And that would make a huge, huge difference. Because just think about if you're doing this maybe one day out of the week and then you go to 7, that's a huge shift that you're going to get from this. I wouldn't discredit these things just because they seem so basic, and you probably see so many other things that are much more advanced. They're beneficial, but don't skip over this because think about this as everything's on an operating sequence, you know, ranging from prepping for the surgery to getting the surgery to post op to working out to running a marathon. Anything in life pretty much is going to have a logical sequence that it needs to go by.

Boots Knighton [:

Yep. And this is also about this being a basic mammal. We are mammals. And in the 21st century, we mammals are probably the least connected we've ever been to our natural environment. And I can't think of a more dysregulating experience than going through heart surgery. And we actually can regulate ourselves via all these tools you just mentioned. And having been through that myself and have tried these tools, I can tell you with literally every remodeled part of my heart, it works. Like, I could be the poster child for it. And I was terrified, I was angry. I was all the things. My mom died in the process of me having heart surgery. I mean, it was bananas. And this was how I stayed sane. So, and this is how you'll help your sleep, which as you have said, Julian, that it is so paramount for your recovery. So, it all works together and it's all free.

Boots Knighton [:

So, you also are well versed in why we age. And I want to talk a little bit about that because, hey, if we go through heart surgery, don't we want to enjoy our hearts for a while before we all eventually die? Because that is the great equalizing factor with all of us. We all are going to die. And why not maximize our lives? If we have to go through this heart surgery, let's maximize our lives afterwards. And that's something I've been focusing on. It's one of the reasons why I started this podcast. One of them was because this was a podcast I needed when I was facing heart surgery. But then I realized that not enough people are talking about how to completely kick ass at life after heart surgery. And that means, okay, well, you know, we're still against father time, but let's maximize our health, and let's just talk about, like, the hard fact that we are aging, but how can we do it well? Like, educate me on this.

Julian Hayes [:

Yeah. There's a handful of directions and things that you can go there. And some listeners might have seen a paper or hear people talk about hallmarks of aging, and these are kind of the research lanes way of identifying reasons why we age. And there's 12 of them. I will quickly name them. I don't think it's necessary to go in detail all of them. I'll probably give a high-level overview of a few that I think are probably most relatable and understanding to most people. And so, you have epigenetic alterations, chronic inflammation, gut dysbiosis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, genomic instability, telomere attrition, a loss of proteostasis, disabled macroautophagy. You have cellular senescence and stem cell exhaustion and altered intercellular communication. There's a lot of things going on there.

Julian Hayes [:

Now for me, most people don't really care to get that detailed with that. So, I think a better way to think about this for me is, I think about, okay, there's levels to this thing with health. Right? So, the baseline health is kind of what you mentioned earlier, surviving. So, depending on what state you're in, there's a survival stage and maybe there's an unbalanced stage. Then as I move over time, I'm going to get myself within balance, get myself within homeostasis. And then once you're at this level, now, I think Western medicine does a great job of taking people who have a pretty serious issue, pretty seriously unbalanced, and they can bring them back to homeostasis and bring them back to a balanced state, to where you're existing at least.

Julian Hayes [:

Definitely not going to thrive, but you're going to be able to exist and move forward in life. Maybe not the way that you want to, but you're going to keep it moving still. The limitation now is what do you do after you get balance, and you're in his homeostasis. That's where you then usually have to become more of the CEO of your own health and go outside the typical parameters because most physicians' job is not to get you optimized and thriving. They're just to keep you alive and to keep you healthy. And there's a difference in that, and they're both useful. So, after we get that level and you're doing the fundamental things. So, you can think about things as I think a big one is inflammation because inflammation affects us across the board on so many things.

Julian Hayes [:

Inflammation is not inherently bad. You need some of it, especially after you exercise. The problem is when it's unmitigated, just like stress. Stress is not bad. It only becomes an issue when it's not mitigated and under control. Same thing with inflammation. So, I'm thinking of, I want to take control of my inflammation. That can be, once again, that goes back to sleep.

Julian Hayes [:

That goes back to proper nutrition, proper hydration. Most people, probably did you not eat enough fish on a weekly basis? So, something like a fish oil supplementation is useful. Now being after coming out of heart surgery and different things like that, you'll have to make sure on that because if I'm not mistaken, I think there's, like, an issue with blood thinning and those kinds of things. Right? That was the problem with kind of doing these things with my dad. I had these ideas and things I wanted to do, but then I was like, I can't just do it because he's a medical patient, and there's a lot of different things going on. And then if he goes to his doctor, his doctors will think he's like a quack or something because they don't understand none of this. So, that was my frustration. So, we have the inflammation.

Julian Hayes [:

The next thing is gut dysbiosis, gut health. Our gut is literally our second brain. So that's a great area to look into in terms of optimizing. And then when you hear about mitochondrial dysfunction, a simplified way is to think about this as energy. And once again, sleep, exercise, nutrition, really hammering home on that foundation is going to help here. So, those are the 3 that I think are really actionable that you can just do from a basic level. And then I think they're going to indirectly help the rest of those that I didn't mention again. Now there are things that you can do for each of those.

Julian Hayes [:

But once again, as I said earlier, everything moves in sequencing, and it just depends on what stage of your health journey that you're at. Because some of those, it's very precise things to do, and it's not economically as nice right now. I guess that's the way to say it. Yeah. It's a little more expensive to do, but you can still work on it. But I wanted to think about, and I'm coming from a person who just got out of heart surgery, and they're looking to gradually build themselves back up. That really hammering home and mastering those fundamentals, it's going to pay huge dividends, and it's going to positively affect each of those 12 reasons that I mentioned off there.

Boots Knighton [:

So good. I just wrote out the list and, you know, something I wish I had thought about more, and I think I had this relatively under control going into my heart surgery, but I don't I think the general population does just because there's just I don't think there's enough awareness out there, which is, again, another point of my podcast is, like, raising awareness of all the things that maybe the medical community doesn't tell you to think about. Because like you said, I think you said that so well. It's the physician's job is not to optimize you. That's the good and the not so great about that whole situation because I think I know at least for me, I looked to my surgeon who I put on a pedestal. I mean, I still love him and I'm so grateful for him. But I thought he was going to be the end all be all and be in my life and tell me how to kick ass afterwards. And he just said, go live your best life.

Boots Knighton [:

I've got to move on now. And I was just like, but you literally just touched my heart and that's it? One of the things I wish I had been more mindful about going into my heart surgery that I know would help everyone is to really work on inflammation, going into heart surgery, and even just taking a simple, reliable probiotic also. Like, just get your microflora in a good position and then really do like an anti-inflammatory diet going into it. That was so set yourself up for success. And then eating real low inflammation type foods for many weeks post open-heart surgery, post, any heart procedure. That is just the most loving thing you can do for your body. And I'm just looking at everything we've talked about as far as your sleep and setting a mission and vision and embracing the fact that you're running your body like a business. I can't think of a more loving way to treat yourself than putting everything we've talked about into place. It is like your body needs and your heart needs the most love that you can give it.

Julian Hayes [:

Yeah. If you think about it, we put so much time in into our careers, and we give places so much of our energy, our love, and everything because we want to provide for our families. We want to make a good living for ourselves. And a lot of times, unfortunately, we don't reciprocate that with our own bodies and with our own health. And sometimes we just have to have an event that occurs that makes us change, unfortunately, pain is our greatest teacher. And I think for me, I saw it younger, so that lesson came to me. So, I didn't directly have to experience it. But I directly experienced it from an emotional level and mental level as well, just being involved in it a lot of times. And I think that's how I got my lesson.

Julian Hayes [:

And then, like, I volunteered at different hospitals and burn units and things like that. So, I had a lot of experience and of seeing different things and talking to different families. And, like I said, when my different relatives went to had the heart surgeries, you talk to families on the floor as well. It's a thing to remember with that, and I think I would be remiss. I also have to say that when it comes to gut health, I don't talk about them too much. Its peptide called BPC-157, which is very good for your gut health and helping seal your gut lining up and a little bit with recovery as well. It's a very beneficial one, and I know that because I've used it multiple times. Because usually when I get super stressed and my gut and acid reflux is the thing that usually starts to manifest in my body.

Julian Hayes [:

And so, that's also why I talk about mindset a lot more because I didn't really believe in the psychosomatic and none of that stuff beforehand of, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. My thoughts are going to make me sick. Whatever. That's not good. But then it happened to me. I got checkups, blood work, everything immaculate, but yet I'm having these symptoms.

Julian Hayes [:

And it's because where my thoughts are during that season of life. And I think that kind of sums up a little bit of what we talked about. But I think for the listeners out there, just to really think long term and not get caught up in the negativity and thinking worst case and using you as the best-case study. I know you can go search for them, but to hear your situation, to lose a parent, go through this, that's a lot of stress right there. And to come out thriving and continuing to get better every day, that's the ultimate testament. I salute you with that because, I wish my relatives got to hear this with you and got to hear this, you know, that's what they needed. You know, it's one thing to hear it from me. It's another thing to hear it from someone who has actually gone through it, experienced it, and know things and has felt things that none of us outside of it will never be able to experience or even has any clue what we're talking about with that, so.

Boots Knighton [:

Thank you for that. We need to wrap up, but any parting wisdom for my listeners?

Julian Hayes [:

Well, keep listening to you is the first thing. Keep listening to you. You've been through the journey. I think you are the best teacher for that to go through that. I think having this type of podcast is a Godsend. It's amazing. When it when you first came on my radar, I was like, wow. This is a little later than I wanted to.

Julian Hayes [:

I wish I had relatives my relatives to hear this, but you're going to save so many lives. Not even just from a life-or-death thing, but just from a point of people just existing instead of thriving. And I think that's the awesome thing. But I guess, on my end, I think it's never too late to reinvent yourself. That's kind of what's coming to my head. It's never too late to reinvent yourself. So, to kind of see this moment right now as it's just the start of the new chapter in your life, the start of a new reinvention for yourself.

Boots Knighton [:

I'm writing down all the nuggets. And let me be a testament to that too because I thought I'd go back to my life before heart surgery and no way. Here I am a podcaster. I didn't have that on my radar. Be prepared for the most unbelievable magic and then follow that. Don't go back to status quo. If you survive any type of heart procedure, then you're meant to do amazing things and we need amazing heart warriors doing amazing things. Well, Julian, thank you. I have the chills from this interview. I know every minute of this is going to be Such important wisdom for my listeners, and thank you so much for visiting with me from Nashville, Tennessee.

Julian Hayes [:

Thank you so much for having me on. I really appreciate it coming on here. This is one of the more special ones that I got to do just because it is so close literally to my heart. This subject and everything.

Boots Knighton [:

The beautiful thing about having a heart issue is that the puns are endless.

Julian Hayes [:

That is true.

Boots Knighton [:

Thank you for sharing a few heartbeats of your day with me today. Please be sure to follow or subscribe to this podcast where ever you are listening. Share with a friend who will value what we discussed. Go to either Apple Podcasts and write us a review or mark those stars on Spotify. I read these and your feedback is so encouraging, and it also helps others find this podcast. Also, please feel free to drop me a note at boots@theheartchamberpodcast.com. I truly want to know how you're doing and if this podcast has been a source of hope, inspiration, and healing for you. Again, I am your host, Boots Knighton, and thanks for listening. Be sure to tune in next Tuesday for another episode of The Heart Chamber.

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About the Podcast

The Heart Chamber
Conversations on open-heart surgery from the patients' perspective
**The name of this podcast is changing on June 4, 2024. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss the announcement!** Join Boots Knighton every Tuesday for conversations on open-heart surgery from the patient perspective. Boots explores the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual experiences of surgery with fellow heart patients and health care providers. This podcast aims to help patients feel less overwhelmed so you can get on with living your best life after surgery. You not only deserve to survive open-heart surgery, you deserve to THRIVE!
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